Guy Barber  Education Advocate In Indian River County County 
 Get School's In Florida To Go Back To Basic Education. Reading Is A Fundamental Truism.
site news: Guy Barber Indian River County Education advocate --

Hi! My name is Guy Barber   It seems the more we try to usher in the 21st century education agenda the more 20th century problems confront us. Politics has grown to play a very negative effect on education in America today and Florida certainly has its share of problems. Indian River is in the mix with an administration that claims there is no money and reading must be cut. Of course after intense protest it seems maybe there are a few dollars here and there to fund the reading program. My only question is which reading program? In 8 years there have been about 7 reading programs, and experimental at that. The curriculums we use are integrated curriculums which cause not only the student learning difficulty, but also the teacher. We have reading coaches which do not teach children how to read, but rather teachers how to teach kids to read. Oddly enough we are faced with students and teachers in classroom learning at the same. Why do we not hire teachers who know how to teach reading? 

When educating our children and providing teachers the tools and skills needed to teach our children are not priority one we know education and our kids are in trouble. Only 36% of our high school children can read on grade level. About 50% of our children must be remediated before entering college. The problems are numerous and the current and past Boards have not been able to turn the tide of mediocrity in education. Educating kids is not a hard job. Making our district conducive to academic excellence seems to be very difficult. 

Politics, politicians, corporate interest making policies, those with ideological agendas and a host of unfunded mandates designed to increase cost and decrease the level of education delivered to our children. 

The majority of our problems are left over from the 20th century and we must set our priorities and maintain them. Of course our number one priority has to be the classroom. We need highly qualified teachers and the instructional supplies to do the job. We must stop hiring people with B.A. degrees which are not related to academics and which possess no classroom management skills what so ever.

Your Board is required to set policies to insure that the highest level of education is available to the children. It seems their interest is to appease the administration and doing what is politically expedient. "absconding and diverting funds from one program to another", also being disingenuous about actual funds and expenditures and counts. In other words I will not tolerate Liars, cheats, and thieves.

I am an education advocate and I am associated with special needs advocacy in Indian River County and it is my intent that those special needs children will by all the weight of the law receive that which is necessary for them to achieve their educational goals and supports. All funding directed to special needs will be used for that purpose including the gifted.

I am all about children. Though unions, administrations, and politicians maybe entwined I repeat above all I am about children. They are our future and I am looking for a good future.

So if you want a 21st century education system start with what made the 20th century great "basic academic education”? Lay the tried, tested, and proven foundation and let’s build that 21st century education system. History if studied will reveal that which worked and failed.

The reading, writing, math, history, American history, science, geography and all those academics which will guide us into the future need to be in place. After the foundation is laid it will be time for building more.                                     By Colleen Wixon

There is a pattern of abuse, neglect and humiliation.

That's what more than 100 parents of autistic children in Florida are telling the state attorney general's office and anyone who will listen.

The parents and others claim children with autism are being mistreated — in some cases physically harmed — by teachers and staff who are supposed to be helping them. On the Treasure Coast alone, there are two potential lawsuits against the St. Lucie County School District by parents of autistic children.

"These aren't isolated incidents. This is an epidemic," said Port St. Lucie parent Anna Moore, who says her then-7-year-old autistic son was mistreated by staff at his school in 2007. "It's time it stops."

School officials say they provide training to teachers, but other educators and parents say it might not be enough.

The parents who have called the state to complain say they're frustrated no one has done anything to help. Meanwhile, their children come home with emotional and sometimes physical scars.

But Alex Barton has opened doors for parents of autistic children to get their message heard, said Palm Beach parent Phyllis Musumeci, mother of a teenage autistic boy.

Alex is the 5-year-old Port St. Lucie boy voted out of his Morningside Elementary classroom in May. Because of his case, the state Attorney General's office began an investigation into how autistic children are treated in schools. The office is trying to set up a meeting to talk with parents and others.

Moore and Barton, who have both filed notices they intend to sue the St. Lucie County School District, are not alone.

More than 100 people throughout the state called the office, including at least a half-dozen from the Treasure Coast. Attorney general's office spokeswoman Sandi Copes said arranging a meeting is difficult because so many want to attend.

A major complaint among many parents is the use of restraints on their children. Others report their child was placed in isolation. This year, several autistic children died after being restrained. In 2007, six complaints were filed with the state Department of Education related to the use of restraints or seclusion rooms.

Educators say sometimes autistic children must be restrained to protect staff members and other students from an aggressive child.

And school districts say they try to ensure teachers get the right kind of training so there aren't problems. Even general education teachers are offered training in case a child with autism is placed in their classrooms.

"The goal is to ensure those working with students with autism spectrum disorder are provided the necessary support, tools and strategies to meet the student's individual needs in varying environments," said Maryellen Quinn-Lunny, executive director of exceptional student education and student services for Martin County Schools.

But some parents and national groups don't think schools do enough.

"They're just not prepared for some of these kids," said Musumeci, who says her then-12-year-old autistic son was restrained 89 times in 14 months and, on one occasion, put in a closet during music class. "I think people lose their patience, they lose their temper."

The Autism National Committee asks on its Web site for national and state agencies, Congress and state legislatures to investigate the use of restraints and to help families.

"It is clear that individuals' sometimes desperate efforts to communicate are ignored while staff force compliance for oftentimes trivial reasons; that the cumulative effects of repeated restraint can lead to diminished self-image and negative attitudes; and that when restraint is used, struggle is provoked and this natural response increases the danger of physical injury," the committee writes in its position on restraints, printed on its Web site.

Part of the problem for schools is finding teachers for autistic children can be difficult — the state Department of Education lists autism as a critical shortage area along with science and math.

The Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disorders provides training to districts and anyone else who asks.

About 90 teachers — from the Treasure Coast and as far away as Miami and Marion County — attended the center's second annual free summer teacher institute in July.

The center's director, Jack Scott, and many of the parents reporting complaints admit teaching a child with autism is tough. Traits such as constant hand-flapping or a repetition of the same phrase can be difficult to handle, Scott said at the institute.

That's why training is so important, said national author of autism books and father of an autistic boy Bill Davis.

Teachers either don't understand the disorder, or they have no help in their classrooms, he said. And that often leads to restraining or placing a child in a room by himself.

The state allows school staff to use reasonable force against a student under certain circumstances. But the state Board of Education will consider on Oct. 21 changing to allow the use of restraints and seclusion only when the child is in danger of hurting himself, others or property.

Merrill Winston, director of program development for Sunrise-based Professional Crisis Management Association, which developed a behavior management system for special needs children, said prone face-down restraint holds effectively protect students and others.

But the holds can only be done after extensive training, he said. And the child must be on a thick foam mat, not on the floor and not with a teacher sitting on him, he said. Too often, the technique is used by someone who doesn't know the proper method or restraints are used before other alternatives, he said.

Davis said teachers have gotten better over the years, and there is greater understanding of autism.

But with autistic children, many teachers are still in the dark ages, he said. They don't comprehend their students.

"It's a teacher's job to get into his world," Davis said.

And, many parents of these children say, that just doesn't happen.


• Parents can talk about a proposed rule that would allow use of restraints and seclusion techniques only when a student is in imminent danger of hurting himself, others or property. A conference call takes place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Aug. 26. Call (888) 808-6959, conference code 4617163.

• The Office of the Attorney General is inter´ested in talking with parents of children with autism who have concerns about their child’s treatment in schools. Parents can call (866) 966-7226. The office wants to set up a meeting with these parents in the next few weeks.


The Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disorders summer institute gave autism teachers two days of training. Here’s a look at some of what they learned:

• Post visual schedules in the classroom so students can see what’s coming next.

• Establish a set routine — even a fire drill or a break in predictability can set off an autistic child.

• Adjust the environmental stimuli as needed — flickering fluorescent lighting can be a dis´traction.

• Anticipate problems — too much down time can cause an autistic child to find ways to self-stimulate. Give him something to do.

• Provide a "safe space" where a child about to have a meltdown can go to self-soothe and calm down.


• The Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disorders provides training to educators and others on how to work with autistic children. For details, call (888) 632-6395 or state toll-free (800) 9-autism.

Martin County School District conducts regular individual training around the specific needs of individual students with autism, said Maryellen Quinn-Lunny, the district’s executive director of exceptional student education and student services. Each school has a core staff group with extensive autism training, she said. The district also gives training and sup´port for parents.

Indian River County School District also gives regular training to its autism training as well as to general education teachers who may have autistic students, said Larry Harrah, the district’s executive director of exceptional student education.

• Sunrise-based Professional Crisis Management Association trains instructors on the use of restraint holds and other behavior management techniques. The company also arranges instructors to help train parents of autistic children looking for help at home.

Go to this link and ask the candidates there views on what going on in this district.  Scroll down on page to fine school district 1 and click on link. Names and pictures of candidates will come up.

Notice to all Parents of Special education students in this county, a must read issue


Commentaries & Reports

Letter to Senator Kennedy

Can Congress continue to assert that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is being nationally embraced when the Department of Education (DOE), in its' most recent issued report to Congress dated June, 2007, reported only nine (9) of our fifty (50) states were found to be fully meeting the requirements for educating students with disabilities under IDEA? Why, despite a $10.5 Billion budget allocation is it acceptable to Congress that 41 states remain non-compliant, almost thirty years after the introduction of Special Educa¬tion laws?

The society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.
Bertrand de Jouvenel

The truth of why our public schools are so dysfunctional lies buried under layers of carefully positioned propaganda, and intentionally constructed terror, courtesy of our school boards all over our nation. Their covert weapon - teacher abuse to silence the truth - assures our administrations that they, rather than the will of the people, are in control.

Teacher abuse is wrong, it is harmful, and we know it is the fundamental reason reform is not happening in our schools since it silences insider information, allowing those in power to mislead parents. Our schools reflect political agendas, not societal needs. Our school board elections are controlled by self serving administrations; few people are aware since terrorized teachers robotically march in line.

Corruption in the school District and the State Department of Education, complaints never found for the parents. This is a must read site and check out parents reply from this state.


Rochester Democrat and Chronicle -- July 27, 2008
by William Cala, guest essayist

What is the purpose of public education? Historically, it has been to 
make good people, to make good citizens and to nurture the individual's 
talents and skills. However, over the past 100 years, these noble 
principles have been kicked aside in lieu of a sterile testing agenda 
set by politicians that has ignored the needs, wants and dreams of 
students, families and local communities

If schools do not reach certain numeric benchmarks set by bureaucrats, 
they will be closed. Is it any wonder that we find that social studies 
tests given in rote, repetitive practice drills in the CitySchool 
District became the final exam without alteration? No explanation or 
rationalization can justify this blatant example of cheating.

How widespread is this type of corruption? I suspect that this is the 
tip of the iceberg. Administrators and teachers are put under enormous 
pressure to churn out better test scores at any cost. Since this 
onslaught of high-stakes testing began over a decade ago, genuine 
concern for authentic student performance as measured by what is 
actually taught in the classroom, by teacher knowledge of pupil 
progress, has all but disappeared — thanks to threats from bureaucrats 
who care not about children, but rather about satisfying wrong-headed 
politicians who have created laws governing classroom learning that uses 
methods proven to yield abysmal results. As a result, we find 
administrators and teachers doing things that they themselves find 
reprehensible. We are test-prepping our kids into the dropout line 
(fewer than one-half of minorities nationwide are graduating). School is 
becoming irrelevant. Research is clear on what motivates kids to engage 
in school work. Children want to be loved by their teacher, to be 
respected for who they are and to feel that their skills and talents 
will contribute to society's improvement. Pupils need and want to be a 
part of democracy, not the target of bad politics in disguise as democracy.

 Guy Barber if you want to:

Get back to basics, reading, writing and arithmetic,
Make textbooks and supplies available to students,
Stop needless land purchases,
Allow teachers to teach instead of filling out forms surveys and grant request,
Stop poor planning management, 
Stop hidden & higher fees, 
Stop fiscal irresponsibility,
Allow parents to communicate with board members without fear of reprisals,
Utilize cost effective educational practice to reduce your tax burden,
Use proper preventive maintenance to avoid higher replacement cost,

Teach phonics as a solid literacy foundation.

For seven Years I have been an advocate of academic excellence for children in our schools. The local School District, the State of Florida and the Federal bureaucracies each claim they are not in charge of the Indian River School 

curriculum. I believe it is time for parents to assert control over their child's educational destiny. Public Schools are not just preparing children for college, but rather giving all the children educational academic foundations to make those choices. Entering college depends on your ability to read, write and calculate.

Reading Writing and Arithmetic are the foundations on which all education builds. Those foundations assure success in higher education and in real world situations. 

My focus is Basic, Promote the positives of our school system and fix the negatives. To be more effective requires getting elected. 
For years this district has been failing to educate the Special Education 

Students by not having teachers who have full certification in the E.S.E. program. 
Drop-out rates out of site and all because of one test which in turn is a waste 

tax payer’s dollar and also promotes cheating by the school personal and its all for the money. I will bring the Basic standards into the schools and prevent drop-outs. Kids and teens should have a say into what there future is to be.

Kids and teens should have a saying. about if FCAT should go because kids might not like FCAT we don't like FCAT we hate it we want it out of all of our school's FCAT is taking away our leaning about real education like Science, 
Social Studies, History instead of this FCAT junk we are not going to use FCAT when we are older they only want the money they should be buy books. I took a book home so my dad can see the book, buy it was dated 1998.Its way-out dated so what dose that tell you. The schools are wasting time teaching about real education.

Thank you. --- Guy Barber


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